Pierre Lachaier (École Française d’Extrême-Orient) has undertaken a translation of a rare Gujarati study of Ahmadabad by Ashok Patel. Written at the turn of the 20th-21st century by the social anthropology student the thesis remains unpublished.
Taking the form of a research essay, the work is organised into seven chapters. Patel historically places the walled city of Ahmadabad before describing the social and collective life of the society including professional activities and festivals. Patel analyses this data to comprehend the changes that have occurred over the last thirty years and cite potential motives. Patel’s work concludes with a discussion of the research obstacles and future lines of enquiry.
Lachaier draws attention to the complexities involved in the translation due to the social denominations of the place which do not conceptually match accepted sociological terms. For example, the Gujarati term ‘pol’ is not an urban village or neighbourhood but is a well closed site principally inhabited by members of a defined caste.
The translation highlights the importance that must be accorded to the work of Ashok Patel and the rare information he documents. The research provides insight into a highly original city of meandering streets, grand walls and small doors.